Balsam Poplar
Populus balsamifera

Location in Ontario
Balsam Poplar grows throughout Ontario. It is found along streams and river valleys.


Balsam Poplar, Norfolk County

Genus Populus
Poplars are fast growing trees with soft wood. The leaves are simple. Flowers are mostly dioecious and appear in early spring. Poplars are pioneer species which grow in a newly opened areas such as after a fire or when land is cleared. Some are successional trees along sand dunes.

In the Landscape
Balsam Poplars is a medium sized tree. It is generally short lived but occasionally reaches 200 years of age. Balsam Poplar trees are not commonly found as a landscape tree.


Balsam Poplar, Norfolk County

Leaves
The leaves are simple with fine teeth. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Bark
The bark is gray with scaly ridges.
Flowers
Balsam Poplar is dioecious, with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers occurring on different trees. Flowers are in catkins, and appear in the early spring before the leaves. Pollination is by wind. Seeds are produced after 8 to 10 years, and occur every year.
Fruit
The seeds are found in long catkins produced in the late spring.

Wood
Balsam Poplar wood is light and soft.
Specific gravity: 0.34
Janka Hardness:
300 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

TREE FACT: Balsam Poplar has the softest wood of any tree in Southern Ontario.

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Balsam Poplar.

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